Famous Movies Stars and Singers that escaped the Clutches of alcoholics anonymous …

Marilyn Monroe

marilyn monroe

Judy Garland


Jim Morrison

jim morrison

Jimmy Hendrix

jimmy hendrix

John Denver

john denver

Janis Joplin

janso joplin

Tonight as I walked into a bathroom of a bar in Burbank CA for a party for an animated series I was struck by the beauty of a photo of Marilyn Monroe. But what I thought of as I saw her lovely face, putting on her makeup in the picture was all of you here on the leaving aa blog.

She was not captured by the cult of alcoholics anonymous…oh btw …have you noticed I am not giving aa the capital letters ….they don’t deserve it….

How many wonderful writers, composers, actors, singers and teamsters drank or drugged too much in the 1920’s, 30’s 40’s 50’s 60’s 70’s 80’s cocaine…90’s …But those listed here got to live their lives without  AA getting inside their heads and mind f**king them.

What a refreshing thought. Have I Left out any???GO ahead and add them and their picture to the list.

Sometimes I wonder, wouldn’t our world be a better place if these AA members would just leave all us creative people alone ? Wouldn’t our world be a better place. For one…Robin William’s would still be alive …love to you Robin!!!

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81 thoughts on “Famous Movies Stars and Singers that escaped the Clutches of alcoholics anonymous …

  1. That was before aa infiltrated every vestige of our culture. Could it be we are on the verge of facing an epidemic of aa related celebrity deaths? All the more reason aa needs to be exposed for what it really about, how the 12-steps mind fuck people, and why it is not always so easy for people, especially when aa has brainwashed them, to walk away from the cult.
    How many more must die at the hands of this faith healing cult? How much longer is this going to go on? Sooner or later we will put a stop to aa’s rampant abuses and the effects they have on so many people’s lives. Let us all work together to have safety regulations put into place and to bring an end to any type of mandated aa attendance.

    • This doesn’t sound like the AA I go to… I’ve gone to several hundred meetings over the past 5 years and my life just keeps getting better… it was so hard to stop but I just kept trying and following the suggestions. It’s like having dozens of aunt/uncle types gently steering us newer people along in life… they tell us how they calmly deal with life’s struggles and we all laugh a lot. Come visit Buffalo if AA is bad where you are!! It’s a riot here 😂😚

  2. I don’t really understand this post. I personally have read nine books on Norma Jean, she was abused by a patriarchal society, which AA is, anybody can see that.

    Jim Morrison was another tortured soul. Very sad.

    Interesting you didn’t include Kurt Cobain. In his diaries he spoke about how AA was just a twisted cult.

    But ultimately their drug addictions got the best of them. Very sad indeed.

    • AA isn’t weird. I’ve been to hundreds of meetings. Tonight about 12 of us younger people went out to eat together after a meeting. We laugh and laugh…and we can talk to eachother when life gets hairy. I’ve formed some great friendships. Life just keeps getting better.

  3. Actually I think a lot of these celebrities had bipolar disorder that was untreated. Jmo, though.

    They were for sure one of a kind ppl though, that’s for sure.

    Very sad. 🙁

    • Interesting thought!

      Creative people are known to be more susceptible to bipolar disorder and depression. But using a substance to try to control that on one’s own blots out the sun in our society and their real, psychological treatment is often neglected in favor of screaming “alcoholic” or “drug addict”.

        • Bi Polar two, so says an addictions psychiatrist I consulted (for other reasons relating to my medical records) is a made up diagnosis – it doesn’t exist. Bi Polar is only characterised by prolonged periods of mania. Depression is not an indicator of bi polar, it’s only diagnosed with mania. I don’t think we can’t say with any certainty what these people were suffering from and not sure how helpful it is to speculate.

            • girlscout- I have to agree here. I was told that for a while rehabs would not cover for alcoholism or alcohol dependeceny so they mad them diagnose bio polar an drive them drugs.

              All one big racket. All those artisst and normal people are not all bi polar.

          • I think bio polar disorder is way over used. We are not qualified to diagnose any of them. My point of the piece was that they lived in a time when AA and rehab was not the common go to and many of them were not forced down that road….or were they…I don’t know but AA and rehab got big in 1981.

            More are dead now form Dr Drew rehab show and just AA in our culture where everyone gets told to go there or “else” !!!! More coercion …more extortion.

            • I agree Massive, more and more things are becoming ‘medicalised’ … to make money.

              The bi polar thing came up for me because I was doing badly post surgery for thyroid disease, and because I’d stupidly told a GP years before that I went to AA (so it was on my notes despite NEVER having seen a doctor for anything relating to alcohol, I never needed to). My current GP said, ‘given your normal blood tests (idiot!!!) and given your history of alcohol abuse I think we need to discuss bi polar’ – I was furious (and so was the Prof endocrine specialist at the hospital) so I saw a very reputable addictions shrink who wrote me a report stating I was neither an alcoholic nor ‘bi polar’

              He was very, very thorough in his assessment and said bi polar two was a ‘junk diagnosis by incompetent doctors who do not know what they are doing’.

              Interestingly, bi polar meds, partic lithium wreck thyroid function (so do anti depressants), and wonky thyroid function mimics mental illness (as well as causes alcohol intolerance, as it messes with the liver). That’s just one hormone, and we have hundreds of things!

              I think this happens a lot, one set of drugs for one ‘issue’ then go on to cause a whole lot of other issues. They then get labelled as something else.

              I think hormones and biochemistry is left out of a lot of psychological views of ‘unhappiness’ ….

              We certainly can’t diagnose people from the past.

              I like your article, we have been so brainwashed about addiction and ‘cross addicitions’ and ‘core issues’ that our whole culture is messed up in how we view alcohol abuse. Labelling it a ‘disease’ also leaves out all the other factors that are in play in someone’s life, society, culture, family etc that contribute to the behaviour.

              I’ve heard many stories about people who fought in the WW2 for instance, who drank to cope, and then when they came home, they went back to normal, the chronic stress and fear now alleviated.

              I was reading Stanton Peele last night and he asked (in context of a wider discussion) – if you were in Aucshwitz, and had the opportunity to practice an addiction, would you take it? Of course you would. Apparently many worn torn countries of the world (e.g. Middle East) have massive sales of over the counter tranquilisers. Are they a ‘diseased’ nation, or are they coping with stressors that are outside their control?

              Stressors can be internal too (I’d imagine being famous is pretty stressful inside and out). From what I’ve read, 75 years of AA has made little to no dent in the problem of alcohol abuse.

              R x

              • As an aside, the addictions shrink told me that it’s now impossible to see an addictions psychiatrist on the NHS in the UK … I had to pay privately.

                So people are not being assessed properly either.

            • Nobody does from AA. They die from addiction. Being mandated to AA is no big deal. They sit for an hour, eat cookies, drink coffee and get the judge’s slip signed. Also, they could forge the signature. No member of AA would confirm or deny that a person was there. The judge can’t verify attendence. We are anonymous. Basically, if someone is “forced” into AA, they don’t have to go. The person just needs to scribble on the signature line.

  4. Hello, This would have been a more powerful article if they hadn’t died from addiction. Perhaps the angle that ‘if they had had alternatives to aa/na’ might have grabbed me more. Like Genx said, Curt Cobain felt aa was a cult but there were no other options for him.


    • That was part of his denial. Addiction is so strong… We want instant gratification, not a long recovery process. Our minds will say anything to justify taking another drink or drug.
      P.s. it gets better
      P.p.s. AA is awesome and gives people a new life!!

    • Mary Magdalene,
      Thanks for posting this link. I read it and really found it helpful. I am just so so so surprised that Robin Williams wasn’t given insight to alternatives. And if he was, I didn’t see it in any of the news coverage.

      • Not every death can be prevented. He was very sick with mental illness. Also, alcoholism is incurable. Sober people have to keep working at it, no matter how long it’s been since the last drink. Most of the people I know who have been sober for 25+ years say that around year 20, things get really tough again emotionally/ spiritually. Robin Wms had about 25 years, i believe…The “old-timers” at my meetings say that’s why they need eachother/fellowship, because when one guy is down the others hold him up, so to speak. Another thing is that drinking is but a symptom of alcoholism. The problem is with our thinking and relationships with others. And, again, it’s treatable but not curable. Try not to believe the negative propaganda. AA has helped sooo many people… and it’s free. For 80+ years. Members do things voluntarily and people can toss a buck or 2 into the basket passed at each meeting, if they wish, to cover cost of coffee and cheap rent for the church basement for the hour.. NOTHING is mandatory. These other programs are about making the founder $$$. Namaste

  5. Hey

    I think Charlie Sheen is hanging on there, his whole family are AA / Al Anon and God bless them, are doing their best with the info they have but now I’m ‘out’ I kinda see his ‘last stand’ and his defiance with new eyes. For sure he’s got issues, but I admire him standing firm and refusing to give in.

    Wasn’t there something with him quoting the big book at his ‘sponsor’ live on television (I think his sponsor was also involved in the TV show?). And then he threw it across the room. You should get him on the radio!

    And whilst I’m not advocating chronic addiction and death and destruction, I do think there is a case for some rule breaking sex n drugs n rock n roll. Life is getting a bit po faced with everything become a frickin ‘disease’. I hate to be a teenager now, back then at least most adults said, ‘ah don’t worry they’ll grow out of it’ which 99 times out of a 100 was true.

    I agree with the point above about patriarchy too, but AA perpetuates patriarchal values (not least how one should relate to God, let alone the sexual politics, which are about 75 years behind everyone else).

    I think Lance Dodes is right, addiction has it’s own explanation – for the person using, either consciously or unconsciously, their using makes sense, there is a kind of logic to it. I def used to deal with all the anger I felt – nice girls didn’t get angry the way I grew up.

    Billy Connolly is sober but not in AA I believe Alistair Campbell, Tony Blair’s spin doctor got sober on his own, he still battles depression. I don’t think Johnny Cash was a stepper either? Jackson Pollock the artist. John Belushi. I’ll keep thinking ….

  6. A number of these people had drug abuse issues and died as a result.

    An evangelist could say this is because they haven’t found Jesus, the Scientologist could claim this is because they haven’t found Ron Hubbard, the Krishnas could make a similar claim in that they hadn’t discovered Hari and the AAers could say this is because they didn’t admit the were powerless and didn’t find a higher power.

    The fact that would best be highlighted in a post is the significant number of people who have successfully stopped abusing drink/drugs/smoke/ without any form of rehab/AA or other 12 step programs.

    BTW how does writing moral inventories and surrendering to god help one lose weight? Think Overeaters Anonymous. Are they are powerless over food????

    • Yup step one of OA is we admitted we were powerless over food …

      Greysheeters Anonymous is even madder, it’s a breakaway, hardline faction of AA that is even tougher than the OA HOW programme. You get a secret foodplan only after you’ve agreed to do it, you MUST NOT show it to anyone else, and EVERY morsel you eat in 24hours has to be committed to your sponsor by phone before breakfast, and you have to weigh and measure everything down the last quarter ounce.

      You weigh in restaurants, at your own wedding, on the beach, everywhere – you pre pack approved food for flights and if necessary ring the airline to get special permission. If you lick your finger, or eat a slice of cucumber before it’s weighed, you’ve relapsed and are back to day one … it’s utterly, utterly mad.

      There are in essence ‘spiritual foods’ and ‘unspiritual foods’ – Greysheeters use the AA big book very firmly and they don’t eat anything you could make alcohol out of – grains, starches, sugars, certain fruits. They basically eat meat, veggies, eggs, protein, a few fruits and few bits of dairy. I know one girl whose hair started falling out and she turned yellow … She kept ‘replapsing’ and when she finally went back to a face to face meeting one of the old timers welcomed her back, told her she needed to stop running on self will and then pulled her in close and hissed in her ear, ‘if you ever leave again I’ll kill you’

      They are NUTS ….

  7. Live in 5 minutes with Anne M Fletcher on http://www.blogtalkradio.com/saferecovery

    SAFE RECOVERY Online Radio by stop13stepinaa
    Safe Recovery- is a new show designed to address Predatory behavior in 12 step meetings, and it’s culture. Join us to discuss new approaches in our world, our culture with alcohol and drug overuse. “Empowerment” not “Powerless” is our slogan. We will discuss and explore alternatives to AA. We want t…

    • Very good Massive. I liked it when she said that AA should be called “true believers anonymous”. She’s right about that. I also think she’s spot on with her comments about AA and young people.

  8. Rick42. Thanks There were many things we agree on and some we did not. I’ll have her on again to talk about her earlier book Sober for GOOD after I read it.

    • Hi Massive. Guess what? I heard you and your guest LIVE for the first time! It was so exciting for me. I was glued to my chair.

      I like how you emphasized the covert sexual predatory behavior tha occurs in the rooms and the need for that to be exposed just like in any other institution.

    • Emerald Eye

      I’d forgotten all about Paul Gascoigne, it’s such a tragedy what’s happened to him – he was worshipped back in the day. I know he’s a terrible drunk and he beat his wife etc but he has been wholesale failed by the treatment industry. If he had the funds he should fly to the States and go to one of the non-12 steps rehabs that Massive talks about here.


  9. Ok I’ve been googling:

    Richard Burton – I doubt he’d have surrendered to anyone!
    Veronica Lake
    Jack Kerouac
    Billy Holiday
    Hank Williams
    Eryl Flynn
    Oliver Reed (how could we forget!)
    WC Fields
    Michael Elphick – British Actor
    Peter Cook

    Tragically all died of alcohol abuse / dependence.

    Winston Churchill was also a big drinker.
    Lindsay Lohan is in AA terms ‘still bang at it’

    Here’s the wiki list of teetotallers although hard to know which are in the ‘fraternity’ as my mother calls it, and which are not. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_teetotalers

  10. Although Stevie Nicks went to the Betty Ford center for cocaine abuse in October 1986 for 28 days, she was basically forced, although she said it saved her life. However, after she got out, her handlers and friends would worry that she would go back to cocaine, so they wanted her to go to aa. “I’m NOT an alcoholic!” Stevie proclaimed and refused to go. Unfortunately, they convinced her to see a doctor who put her on Klonopin for 7 years until she finally refused to take it anymore and detoxed from it. Still, she never went to na or through any ridiculous Stepper programs.

    Stevie still has a few drinks whenever she feels like it. She’s also never praised ANY cult programs, aside from her initial stay at Betty Ford, which mainly helped her regain her bearings after being on cocaine for almost 10 years.

    I just LOVE that Stevie refused to go to aa and still repeats her refusal in retellings of that era to this day! 🙂

    • Chevy Chase also went through The Betty Ford clinic many years ago, and had some negative things to say about it afterward. His comments were something to the effect that he went in expecting treatment, and all they did was try to shove god down his throat. It’s been a long time and I don’t remember the details. I know that Stanton Peele mentioned in one of his online articles that may still be available somewhere.

    • I saw Stevie Nicks open for Rod Stewart a couple years ago, and I was really moved by her huge presence in the arena. She is someone who has never been brainwashed by a cult. She is her own person. She was hugely powerful in such a good way.

  11. I’ve only read ONE celebrity describe the same process that I had of growing out of my problem drinking, basically just growing up and using my mind, not relying on others or a hp. I now drink without any problems or horror stories. And I’ve only seen one celebrity talk about the same change in mindset, and that is Charlie Sheen.

    Higher Power praise you, Charlie Sheen! I love you!

  12. I must be a little tired because this post makes no sense….

    These people didn’t escape from AA, they were never in AA.
    They died from their addictions…
    I must be missing something…

    • Hi James- Yea they escaped AA. They were lucky in that …they died from a varied group of things, one being over dose of drugs. But not of them killed themselves after attending Hazeldon the month prior or none of them went to an AA meeting the day before to listen how they were broken for life, Powerless and that they could never drink again. Maybe you are tired. Maybe you don’t need this site.
      We do.

        • It’s not a disease for starters, and that’s not the point of this post. Many of them died before there was ANY treatment for alcohol dependence or abuse.

          And many people continue to die in AA.

          Nobody’s denying addictions kill people, what we are discussing is other ways.

          And before AA was so embedded in our culture, addiction was viewed differently.

          AA can be as equally harmful as no treatment at all (and is statistically as effective as no treatment at all, except AAs relapse more frequently, harder and for longer and the suicide rate is higher, as evidenced by AAs own research).

        • I can’t speak for Massive, but these two quotes from John Stuart Mill sum up what I believe is important about our discussion here on this blog (and others like it):

          “The only freedom which deserves the name is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. Each is the proper guardian of his own health, whether bodily, or mental or spiritual. Mankind are greater gainers by suffering each other to live as seems good to themselves, than by compelling each to live as seems good to the rest.”
          ― John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

          “He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that. His reasons may be good, and no one may have been able to refute them. But if he is equally unable to refute the reasons on the opposite side, if he does not so much as know what they are, he has no ground for preferring either opinion… Nor is it enough that he should hear the opinions of adversaries from his own teachers, presented as they state them, and accompanied by what they offer as refutations. He must be able to hear them from persons who actually believe them…he must know them in their most plausible and persuasive form.”
          ― John Stuart Mill, On Liberty

    • Nobody’s denying people die from addictions. Nobody is denying that many people need help, and need to get abstinent. Nobody is denying that there should be good help out there.

      What many people do deny though is AA is part of the problem. Many people make blanket statements that ‘AA helps millions’ when the evidence shows (and our own personal experience shows) that AA is not a cure all, can be quite harmful, and there are serious issues with it for the 97 – 95% that it doesn’t work for. Evidence also shows that AA members relapse harder, binge harder and for longer, and commit suicide more frequently.

      We were musing on famous alcoholics on this thread … particularly back in the days before you’d have been subject to an ‘intervention’ and then strong-armed into ‘treatment’ – back in the days before a blanket label of ‘a disease’ would have been slapped on you and before you’d have been told that the 12 steps were a fix for all your problems (which as we all know, they are not).

      Human beings are complicated, addiction is complicated, cultural and social and economic forces are complicated, and the answer needs to be nuanced and tailored to the person.

      History gets re-written through the prism of the AA world view of ‘alcoholism is a disease’ ….that all these poor people died of their ‘untreated disease’ when people are more complicated than that.

      …AND people are currently dying of the ‘CURE’ as well.

      • I’m confused, these are AA members breaking their anonymity on press, radio, FILMS and TV??? There is footage INSIDE the AA conference ….

        A quick read through the credentials of the company and the advisors (credits include the Shroud of Turin and the Spear of Christ) and one advisor is from ’12 Step Ministeries’ and another has written books on 12 steps (including that hard line back to basics stuff). I’m wondering what the agenda is?

        Nobody is denying many AA members are sincere, the question is does it work? And the answer is no it doesn’t….

        Is there any science in this film?

        And rather creepy ‘rise in children alcoholics’ ….


    • Welp…just lost a lot of respect for Aldous Huxley and Kurt Vonnegut, who both claimed that AA was the “America’s greatest gift to the world.” WTF?????

    • And you put “facts” in scornful inverted commas – a bit like rolling your eyes when some someone is speaking freely.

      Can you provide some “facts” that it’s helping, as the only “facts” that AA can provide is that it’s no more help than no treatment at all.

      And funny that in the Western World, where free speech is so highly valued, you took time out of your Sunday to pop by here and set us all straight.

      Right on, sister.

      • Oh and many are not ‘free’ to follow their own roads, as your purple prose puts it. Many are mandated to AA and many are threatened with the loss of their jobs if they don’t attend. People are forced into ‘treatment’ and coerced into a diganosis.

        That’s really free ….

  13. “the facts speak for themselves the relapse percentages without support are higher then those that try to do it on their own. ”
    Uh no. That is a complete reversal of reality. So far off the mark that it can only be a deliberate lie.
    Namaste – in the passive aggressive way that steppism manages to infect everything that it comes in putrid contact with.

  14. Laura T, don’t know what to say to your attack but that I feel sorry for you. You must put up with a lot in AA with your creative freethinker get-up. It will work for awhile, but soon they will disagree with you and let you know you must conform or go. We try to help folks leave AA because we see so many it is hurting and we see how it has hurt us. A close relative of mine was never the same after his intervention, rehab and brainwashing. He thought he was some powermonger out of the 12 and 12. He became intolerable, and it led to his slow and painful alienation from his family, and to his eventual death. This isn’t just some pain you read about, this is real deep pain we have witnessed and felt when our loved ones go off the deep-end from the intrusion of the 12 Step mandates. I hope you keep your freethinking ways, and strengthen them, and know you are not alone.

  15. I remember Chevy Chase saying something like Betty Ford’s was like being in lock down marshal law, it was so overwhelming and horrifying. The creatives that didn’t resort to steppism, are the only ones that have anything meaningful to contribute to the arts. Versus the ones who did. How about Jack Nicholson? Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jr, the beloved Jackie Gleason. Robert Redford. Their genius and intelligence and empathy shine through their work brilliantly.

  16. AA saved my life. But as a group of humans, it is flawed. I went daily at the beginning, but now I don’t go to meetings at all. I do talk to other alcoholics regularly though. Take what you need and leave the rest. I’m sober nine years now.

  17. Laura S- You …saved your life. You stopped. You didn’t drink. AA doesn’t make anyone do anything except promote its agenda. Oh except make coffee, be Of service, Be a secretary, CLean up cigarettes, Clean up the meeting place, mop the floor, be a good little stepper bee.

    None of us care about “time” here. We are not impressed. That is an AA thing.

  18. Depends if you belive the lot. At the meetings I attend, so do, some don’t. Maybe it’s more evangelical in the US. Its just a different plan from the one that didn’t work. It’s not extreme or rigorous, no one knows who you are or checks to see if you are being honest, what it is though is an accepting collective of people who have all had dire problems with alcohol – and if you ain’t been there, you will never understand how helpful talking with that group can be.

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